Friday, April 11, 2014

over a cuppa with...Emma Blomfield of Nest Designs, our new contributor!

Today I am very excited to introduce you to Emma Blomfield of Nest Designs.  Emma is a talented Interior Stylist with a flourishing business doing styling, e-decorating packages, decorating workshops, furniture sourcing, personalised mood boards, and from now (drum roll...) contributor to Build House Home.

When I sat down over a coffee with Emma a few weeks ago I just knew she would be fabulous for Build House Home.  We both want the same things from a blog, pretty pictures, useful information, and clear diy instructions.  We like things to be pretty, and practical, and where possible affordable.  Now I know what I like, but I am always looking for fresh inspiration, and Emma is an expert.  She brings a wealth of styling and sourcing knowledge which she plans to share with us right here, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with either.

Lets get to know Emma a little better

Favourite time of day...
When I jump into bed at night and scroll through my iPad to read my favourite blogs and catch up on social media for the day.

I have an hour to myself, the first thing I do is...
Probably refresh Instagram over and over, I’m almost obsessed with it.. Otherwise you’ll find me with a magazine on my lap, nail polish in one hand and the TV remote in the other flicking through rubbish reality tv…

A simple style secret I use myself is...
Look through the lens of a camera or your phone to see how what you’ve styled really looks. It’s ALWAYS different to how you see it in real life.

My favourite flowers are...
Freesias for their smell and ranunculus for colour and their happy faces.

Champagne or lemonade
Ha, easy, champagne. always.

Cheese or chocolate
Chocolate! If you knew how much chocolate I consume in a day you’d be shocked…..

What will be happening at Nest Designs this year
Good question! Each week brings new clients and new projects, in the next few months it’ll be a few retail re-design projects, including the re-design of a day spa (I’d be happy if they paid me in facials & massages to be honest!) plus decorating workshops in rural areas too. I love travelling to see rural towns and meet my e-decorating clients in real life!

No wonder we get on so well: blog obession (tick), reality tv watcher (don't tell anyone - tick), freesias and ranunculus (tick), champagne (tick), facials and massages (tick).

I can't wait to see what Emma gets up to this year and I am so excited that Emma is going to be adding a new voice to these pages! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Zulu beer pots...moving things around

Wanted to change things around a bit, at the moment I am wanting bigger statements rather than small collections and these Zulu beer pots, bought years ago at the side of the road, seem just the ticket.  

I like their roundness where everything else is so square.  Ok for now, still looking for the perfect piece for this corner.  Perhaps I should add a little succulent pot?  Any suggestions?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Beach party inspiration...

Being inspired by these fabulous beach parties and picnic to try another pop up party of my own.  
The last party was so much fun and the beach seems just perfect for this time of year, after the summer heat for us in the southern hemisphere, and before the heat for all of you in the north.

Lets hope the weather plays along for this one and we don't end up in the passage again like we did with the last one!  Lots of plans for this one so watch this space!!
Sources from top: One fine day shoot, Simple beach picnic, Party at the cliffs, Table in grays by Jose Villa, Bonfire, Under the palm trees via Style Me Pretty, Ojai wedding

Monday, March 31, 2014

gas fireplace vs wood fireplace

There is nothing better than sitting by the fire on a cold wintery day or night.
Now I am a fan of the wood fire, I don't particularly like anything faux, but I recently came across the Pure Vision from Real Flame and it got me thinking about a more modern shaped range.  I am thinking that one of these gas fireplaces finished something like the images below could be the answer for my living room.  

Reasons to put in a gas fireplace:
  • Instant gratification, turns on with the flick of a switch
  • No wood, no mess
  • Cheaper to install 
  • You don't need a fire surround and can install over a wooden floor
  • Not allowed to have wood fires in some suburbs
Why I still love a wood fire:
  • That gorgeous smell of wood fire
  • The crackle of wood burning

Style notes:
Both fireplaces are: low to the ground, have a strong textural feature, and the top of the fireplace is low too.  The barnwood fireplace, by Giorgio Possenti, at top is my favourite, I just love how the wood has been set in a modern pattern.
I also like the glass panels at the edges of fire in the second image, very similar to the Pure Vision from Real Flame.  The finish is polished black concrete but would be gorgeous in metal too.

I also like these double fronted fireplaces on the side of the chimney wall, they would work with the Double Vision from Real Flame
Above: amazing loft (photographer unknown)  
Below: plywood fireplace by Paul de Ruiter Architects, photographed by Tim van de Velde,

This may just be the year of the gas fireplace for our home.  This post was sponsored by Real Flame but all comments and opinions are, as usual, my own.

Friday, March 28, 2014

the trouble with vignettes

Spent a very frustrating morning trying to style and photograph vignettes in Miss J's bedroom.  
What looks pretty to the eye doesn't always work on camera I am discovering, I need more practice.  Went out in  huff, but had a lovely reviving visit with my cousins new little baby girl.  How inspiring new life is.  
In the end I liked this one of my coffee table , so I think I will leave it there for the day.

Have a lovely week...
And if you have been having a frustrating day, take a deep breath, go for a walk, and let it all go.

Stag tea light,  Geometric gold,  Lsa International silver,  Platinum tea light,  Marakkech tea light tray        

Monday, March 24, 2014

top read, tween & tiny...with a green thumb twist

I come from a family of gardeners and I love that all of my family are inspired by the beauty of growing things, in our garden and in the world.  So its no surprise that these books hit the right note with all of us.

{Mr Owita's Guide to Gardening - Carol Wall}
I loved this book, an inspiring story of how we can choose how to live our lives, no matter what life throws at us.  We can choose to be kinder, better people, and wouldn't the world be a better place if we all did.  Based on a real story and told with great honesty, moving and memorable.

{The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett}
An oldie but a goodie, a favourite from my childhood.  Another story of a friendship blossoming with a green thumb.  In fact a similar journey discovering the joy of gardening and the secret to having an open heart, just as in Mr Owita's sub title.

{Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne}
Miss J is obsessed with going on woozle hunts and visiting the 100 Acre Wood, so I thought this fit in here too.  Its lovely to see these old stories and characters magically come alive to a new generation.

Friday, March 21, 2014

why the kitchen is the heart of my home... making open plan work

The best thing about designing a new home is you get to make the living spaces suit you exactly.
We always knew the kitchen would be the heart of our home, we love cooking and being able to prepare and eat meals as a family. 

My favourite thing about the design is that from the kitchen bench I can see the pool and garden, across the main living areas and right across the central courtyard to the playroom.  
Whether I am cooking or reading a magazine at the counter, I can keep an eye on the kids, whatever they are up to, which means I can keep going and get things done while they play.

Having such an open plan design comes with challenges too.  You need to be able to do the cooking in the kitchen but hide the storage and washing up.  Want to know how to do it?
Here are my top tips for planning a successful open plan concept that you will love as much as I love mine.
This post is brought to you by Creative Design Kitchens: designing, creating and installing dream kitchens in Sydney for over 18 years, but as usual all opinions are my own.

The butlers pantry:
How is this different from the walk in pantry?  This room contains double sinks, ample counter space for washing up and stacking dirty pots and pans, and the dishwasher.  This is a cleaning utility area rather than a food storage or prep area.
Many people thought it was a crazy waste of space, now they all want one too, and its becoming a must have in any well designed home.  
It totally allows you to enjoy cooking and then shut the washing up away until you want to deal with it.  Out if sight out of mind as the saying goes.  Our space can be shut totally out of sight with space saving pocket doors.

A walk in pantry:
This pantry is for storing food.  Our pantry has two side: fridge, freezer and microwave on one side, open shelves for groceries, and a coffee counter on the other.  
The fridges are close enough to the kitchen for easy access, but hidden from sight.  Not only does it not affect the look of the kitchen, but you are not tied to a specific cabinet spaces for your large appliances, future proofing for unforeseen appliance changes.

A separate coffee prep counter:
Kettles, toasters and coffee machines are a necessity in most kitchens, but they sure do clutter up your surfaces.  All of these items are on a counter in our butlers pantry, out of sight from the living area, but opposite the fridge.  Never having to tidy these appliances away is one of my favourite ways the kitchen works for us.

Extra long and wide counters:
There has to be space for at least two people to cook, and place for people to sit and keep the cooks company.  Our center counter is 3m long and 90cm wide, and if we had the space I would have made it both longer and wider.

A powerful and quiet extractor:
Especially important where the kitchen opens onto your entertaining area.  Extractors come in a multitude of shapes and finishes, but whatever you choose make sure that your fan is not to noisy when it works.  You don't want to drown out conversation.

Prep bowl - don't put it in the center counter:
You don't want to be walking to the butlers pantry every time you need water for a pot or you want to wash your vegetables.  A prep bowl is a must but don't put it in the center counter!   Ignore those spotless show kitchens where its done this way because:  they tend to splash as you rinse which is bad news for kids doing the homework or your guests sitting at the counter,  it detracts from your gorgeous and expensive counter top, you don't want to set up a buffet meal right next to the sink.   Keep your center counter clear!!

Our prep bowl in near the stove on the back counter, handy for filling pots about to go on the stove, or refilling the kettle.  It's absolutely the right place for it.

Storage, storage and more storage:
A place for everything and everything in its place.  Yes to more drawers for everything from pots and pans, to coffee cups and spices, no to open shelves unless you have gorgeous collections to put on display, and are very tidy.  This goes for all kitchens, not just open plan ones.  

I have open shelves in the butlers pantry for storage of platters, baskets, books and vases (see left in both photo's).  I do keep them tidy but can also have pocket doors that shut that area off from the kitchen, just in case we don't want them on display.

For us open plan is fantastic, the kitchen is truly the heart of our home, with space for all of us to be together but doing different things.  We love it.
Let me know if you have a hot tip to add to this list.  

This post was written for Creative Design Kitchens, but all opinions are, as usual, my own.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Geometry lesson

Some pretty things...  I am still loving the geometric shapes and colour blocking that's happening in home wares.  Spotted the white version of these candles on The Block the other night, but I really love the gold version.  And the laundry baskets from Ferm are perfection.  

So pretty, find them below from top left:
Anthropologie rug,  Chloe Love Perfume,   Country Road Arco candle gold,  Anthropologie Square lamp,  Anthropologie Vase lamp,   Country Road Arco candle black,  Dash and Albert round rug,   Country Road paper weight,  Ferm Living laundry basket (large), Ferm Living laundry basket (small)

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Flower unusual combination

I was given this gorgeous bunch of flowers for my birthday, it was such an unexpected combination I just had to share.  Who knew that a king protea, eucalyptus and flowering gum would go so beautifully together.  

The silver and the dark living room wall really sets them off too, and picks up the green and grays in the painting, a very happy coincidence.

From left: eucalyptus, king protea, red flowering gum.